No. 69 NAI DFA ES Box 33 File 232

Memorandum on Germany by Nancy Wyse Power
(Copy)

Berlin, 29 March 19211

Germany.


The Press generally - but more especially the conservative Press - seems favourable. It publishes all available Irish news in a prominent position, but up to the present the value of such publication has been somewhat diminished by the fact that the German papers were dependent mainly on the Press Association, and that the news had consequently the wrong tinge. This was noticeable in the description of the events of the 21st of November2, and again at the time of the burning of Cork. A good supply of properly coloured news is essential, as the population, being most interested in our case, reads everything about Ireland that appears, and if the papers continue dependent on enemy sources for news, the inevitable colouring of such news will with time have an effect on the minds of the readers.

For another reason also, anti-English propaganda in Germany is necessary. There is a slight tendency noticeable in the Rhineland to contrast the conduct of the English troops favourably with that of the French and American armies (Strange to say the Americans are detested). There is no doubt that the English Army is vastly better behaved than the other entente armies - a fact, which, coupled with the German hatred of France might possibly develop into a preference for England, in comparison with the Allies. The English authorities seem [to be] playing for such a development, as they are obviously most anxious to avoid anything in the nature of unpleasantness between their troops and the German population. In this point I would respectfully suggest that anti-English, as distinct from pro-Irish, propaganda would be of value. England's part in bringing about the war, the gains which England makes by the Versailles treaty, and such subjects would need emphasis, as Germans are apt to forget the past in the present. Moreover, statements by the English Labour Party, the Daily Herald, and such sources, appear in German papers as evidence that the English people are not behind the present demands, but are being dragged at the heels of Chauvinist France.

I do not wish it to be understood that there is anything like pro-English feeling in Germany. If there is, I never met it. But it appeared to me that English propaganda was working very unobtrusively to bring about such feeling gradually, and that it would be well to counter it early.

The recent demands of the Allies had an extraordinary effect in hardening national opinion, and the results of the Silesian plebiscite will harden it still further, as all German hopes were set on the retention of that province, so the moment is particularly opportune for our propaganda. As showing the trend of feeling, I would point out that at the elections for the Prussian Parliament which took place a month ago, the combined bourgeois parties obtained a majority over the combined socialists, and the party which got an accession of strength was the Nationalist, or Junker party. In the previous Parliament the Socialists had the majority. Neither the Socialist nor the Centre parties are much use to us - the aristocratic, 'Militarist' elements are the anti-English ones.

N.[ancy] [Wyse] P.[ower]

1An alternate date at the foot of this memo reads 25 March 1921.

2Bloody Sunday.


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